White Gum in Storm Clouds

White Gum in Storm Clouds

Geraldton – Northhampton – Kalbarri – Galena Bridge (Murchison River) 

Northampton Tavern

Northampton Tavern

It was sad to say goodbye to the family this morning, but I have to head to Kalbarri to check it out. Northhampton has some pretty impressive buildings and lots of history. I misunderstood Rod’s directions to Kalbarri and didn’t turn off at Northhampton, so missed seeing Port Gregory and the coastal gorges south of Kalbarri.  I passed the Hutt River Province turnoff – unaware that I could have taken that turn too, and went all the way to Ajana-Kalbarri road which took me through the National Park.

As I drive through Kalbarri National Park, I’m amazed at the amount of different plants that are on this vast, rolling sand plain – the gorgeous banksias, several types of them, and the grevilleas are prominent.  The plain seems to go on forever. I stop several times to take in the beauty of the unusual flora, many that I’ve never seen before.

Just before Kalbarri, I saw a turnoff to Meanarra Hill.  Even though the road was very corrugated, the view from the lookout was spectacular – the surrounding heath, the national park, the Murchison River and the Ocean with Kalbarri thrown in as well – fantastic. Back down the hill and into Kalbarri village – a coastal tourist mecca and fishing village in idyllic surrounds.  They feed the pelicans here every day and the foreshore is geared for family enjoyment. I explored the township, went to the National Parks office to get my pass for the day and some information as to which gorges I could get to in the bus.  The Loop with Nature’s window is out of the question, as is the Z bend as the ranger advised that the road was very corrugated and suggested that I go to the Hawk’s Head and Ross Graham Lookout.  I’d passed these on the way in so, I had to retrace my steps. The Murchison River Gorges are spectacular – Hawks’ Head cliffs are very steep and there is no access to the river here but the view is well worth it.  Ross Graham Lookout gives a different perspective to the river and there is access to the river bank so I got to go down to the bottom. I imagine the water that must surge through here in the wet season would make a spectacular sight, but there’s very little water today.

After the lookouts I head back to the North West Coastal Highway and the campsite I’ve chosen for tonight beside the Murchison River at Galena Bridge.  There are about seven black swans on the river – some with their cygnets and in the other pool there are ducks – a storm is brewing so I tuck myself in for the night after a very productive day.

Meanarra Hill Road

Meanarra Hill Road

Meanarra Hill VIew

Meanarra Hill VIew

Kalbarri River Country

Kalbarri River Country

Kalbarri Streetscape

Kalbarri Streetscape

Kalbarri Bay

Kalbarri Bay

Kalbarri Park Information

Kalbarri Park Information

Melaleuca in Flower

Melaleuca in Flower

Sandplain from Meanarra Hill

Sandplain from Meanarra Hill

Hawks Head and Murchison River

Hawks Head and Murchison River

Hawks Head

Hawks Head

 Murchison River at Hawks Head

Murchison River at Hawks Head

Ross Graham View

Ross Graham View

Ross Graham River Walk

Ross Graham River Walk

Ross Graham River Walk

Ross Graham River Walk

Murchison River at Campsite

Murchison River at Campsite

Advertisements
Dongara Mill Motel

Dongara Mill Motel

Dongara – Geraldton

After Mary and Ed (a lovely couple I met last night) left Cliff Head North this morning, I finished packing up and headed for Dongara – I want to ring Rod and Sharna to see if they’re home in Geraldton so I can visit.  Dongara’s entrance is a huge lobster in a fishing boat, and the town reflects the coastal theme – a tidy seaside village.  The Mill Motel on the highway has an old four storey mill house in the grounds – such a great building, and the colours of the bougainvillea in the garden set it off beautifully. I set off to Geraldton to do my chores and a spot of sightseeing. I proceeded to the waterfront and the CBD first, as the majority of the attractions I want to explore are around here.  The port is very busy, there are ships loading wheat and iron ore, and there are at least nine waiting offshore to come in. The foreshore development is attractive and the beaches clean. Town Beach is right near the CBD and quite a few people were walking here.

The HMAS Sydney Memorial is truly magnificent – this is a very thought provoking and tasteful tribute to the 645 sailors who perished when the HMAS Sydney sank on 19 November, 1941 when engaging the German armed raider, HSK Kormoran – both ships were lost but most of the German sailors survived – all of the Sydney crew perished.  There are several elements to the memorial – the central Dome of Souls, with its 645 seagulls joined is stunning as is the eternal flame.  The statue of the mother searching the ocean for her sailor to come home – she waits no more – her gaze follows the coordinates where the ship was found, only 112 nautical miles off Steep Point. The Pool of Remembrance, with the seagull in the centre of the circle within a circle, marking the exact point on the map (the pool was built to commemorate the finding of the Sydney in 2008) and the Wall of Remembrance with the names of all of the lost in alphabetical order, symbolising that there’s no rank in death.

After I finished my grocery shopping, I headed out to Point Moore Lighthouse – the most South westerly point here – I was fascinated to see that they have made a lighthouse shaped shower in the parkland opposite.  There has been an artificial osprey nest built on the top of a tall pole near the beach, I was lucky enough to catch a photo of an Osprey nesting in it.  I headed back to town to get gas and then I headed out to Rod and Sharna’s.  It was great to catch up with them and the family news.  Rod took me for a drive around after we picked Ashla up from school – Geraldton sure has some magnificent real estate and the beach areas are great. We had a very relaxing afternoon and evening and I got very spoilt – a real bed, shower and magnificent meal – with great company. Thanks so much to the Sands family.

Dongara Lobster Entrance

Dongara Lobster Entrance

Geraldton Streetscape

Geraldton Streetscape

Geraldton Port

Geraldton Port

Paula at Point Moore

Paula at Point Moore

Osprey Artificial Nest

Osprey Artificial Nest

HMAS Sydney Memorial

HMAS Sydney Memorial

HMAS Sydney Memorial Information

HMAS Sydney Memorial Information

Dome of Remembrance

Dome of Remembrance

Pool of Remembrance

Pool of Remembrance

Woman Waiting at Memori

Woman Waiting at Memorial

Port and Town from Memorial

Port and Town from Memorial

Closing the Circle Plaque

Closing the Circle Plaque

Ship Leaving Geraldton PortShip Leaving Geraldton Port

Rod, Sharna and Ashla Sands

Rod, Sharna and Ashla Sands

 

New Norcia –The Pinnacles – Cervantes

Wedge Island Panorama

Wedge Island Panorama

I went to Mass in the beautiful Abbey Church this morning, after bidding Maureen and Bruce from Moama goodbye. After church I did many phone calls home as I’m not sure of coverage for tonight.  I’m heading to The Pinnacles and the drive takes me through Moora and on to Dandaragan – a great little farming community with a Pioneer Park which has great amenities – even a small caravan park at the rear of the oval – pity it’s so close to the start of my day. There’s a hot shower so I take the opportunity to wash my hair in real running water and then head off to Cataby via a very scenic drive. There’s a magnificent olive grove and the banksias along this stretch are stunning – Banksia trees instead of the bushes I’m used to and they are flowering.  I have to stop and photograph some of them.

At Cataby I decide to turn back towards Perth and head to Lancelin to ensure that I don’t miss The Pinnacles, my main aim for the day’s journey. The highway fauna is fascinating – banksias, blackboys and ferns. Lancelin is the West Australian wind surfing capital and the white sand dunes are really amazing – pure white snow.  I passed a sign on the highway somewhere today that said “Caution sand drifts may cause poor visibility”, I can imaging the shifting sands here doing just that.

The Pinnacles is north of Lancelin and they certainly did not disappoint – I don’t know what I expected, but certainly not this landscape which looks like a forest of stones – rising out of the sand – some look like columns, others like tombstones, all very different and so many of them – an amazing landscape, like nothing I’ve ever seen before.  I walked through them and then took Livin’ for a drive around the four kilometre loop. Thousands of these limestone pillars – thankfully there are bays to stop in and admire the view and take copious amounts of photos!!There were even kangaroos hopping across my path.

Paula and Livin' on the Pinnacles Drive

Paula and Livin’ on the Pinnacles Drive

After The Pinnacles Discovery Centre, I head to Cervantes, and as usual I check out the Visitor Information board at the entrance to the town and discover that there is a lookout out at Hansen Bay and Stromatolites at Lake Thetis which is on the way into Cervantes, so I decide to check them both out. The lookout is high enough over Hansen Bay to give an amazing view of the whole area – well worth the steps!! I headed back towards town and Lake Thetis – a very salty lake – 3 times saltier than the ocean, where the amazing rock like structures called stromatolites – built by micro-organisms too small for the eye to see – they are only found in a few places in the world. These fragile structures are protected by an observation walkway. As it is getting late and I need to book into the caravan park, I head into Cervantes. I arrived at the park in time to book in and make my way to the beach before sunset.  I met up with a lovely couple Fran and Brian from down near Bunbury and shared a stunning sunset with them.  Fran’s battery was running low so I charged it up for her as she’d forgotten her charger and was lucky enough to be given some homemade fruit cake – what a treat. I had dinner in the camp kitchen with a couple I’d met at New Norcia, Leo and Gabby from Geelong, so I’ve had a very social evening as well as an eventful, educational day.

Dandaragan Entrance Sign

Dandaragan Entrance Sign

Abbey Church

Abbey Church

Banksia Flower

Banksia Flower

Lancelin Sand Dunes

Lancelin Sand Dunes

Pinnacles Drive

Pinnacles Drive

The Pinnacles

The Pinnacles

Pinnacles

Pinnacles

Pinnacles

Pinnacles

Paula at the Pinnacles

Paula at the Pinnacles

Hansen Bay Lookout Steps

Hansen Bay Lookout Steps

Hansen Bay

Hansen Bay

Hansen Bay Lookout Steps

Hansen Bay Lookout Steps

Lake Thetis Information

Lake Thetis Information

Lake Thetis

Lake Thetis

Stromatalites Information

Stromatalites Information

Stromatalites

Stromatalites

Stromatalites

Stromatalites

Cervantes Welcome Signs

Cervantes Welcome Signs

Cervantes Jetty

Cervantes Jetty

Cervantes Bay

Cervantes Bay

Cervantes Sunset

Cervantes Sunset

Pinnacles Drive

Pinnacles Drive

Cervantes Sunset

Cervantes Sunset

Toodyay – New Norcia

The beginning of my drive today took me back through the Salmon Gums towards Perth for 46 kilometres then onto the highway for a time.  The GPS has chosen a route mainly on secondary roads through very different countryside – firstly the Salmon Gums, then farming country, then as I neared Toodyay the trees changed as did the soil. I think the trees are Black Wattle but WA trees are very different so not positive.  The roads are quite narrow but not a lot of traffic so relaxing.  There  are sheep grazing in the paddocks near Toodyay and the rocky outcrops are interspersed with green grasses.

Toodyay, established in 1836, was once called Newcastle but was renamed in 1910. The town is nestled in bushland in the Avon Valley and apparently the wildflowers are a very popular attraction (I’m a couple of months too early for that).  There is an historic Flour Mill (C 1870) which was owned by an ex-convict, Daniel Connor, and an Old Newcastle Gaol Museum and Police Stables. 19th Century historic buildings are dotted around town.  There is a café which has a Coca-Cola collection which has taken 60 years to gather.

The road to New Norcia takes me back onto the Great Northern Highway, through forests with a massive amount of black boys and ferns, and surprisingly a deer farm and Bindoon Army Training centre.  I stopped for lunch 35 kilometres from New Norcia – someone had dumped a large amount of clothing in the truck parking area – hard to fathom why.

I headed straight to the Visitor Centre when I got to New Norcia because the afternoon tour was about to start and I wanted to see if I could join it.  I am thrilled that I did – what an informative and interesting afternoon.  Richard was our guide and there are only three of us in the group – Lorraine and Terry from Tasmania and I. The tour incorporates many of the buildings in New Norcia – some which are only accessible to tour participants and others which are free to look around.

This is Australia’s only Monastic town and has been around for 160 odd years.  Many of the buildings were designed by one of the Monks – many are grandiose and it’s easy to forget that you’re in the middle of the West Australian bush. There were four separate schools – each  surrounded by high brick walls – two boy schools – one for the aboriginal boys and one for the white boys and two girls schools – one for the aboriginal girls and one for the white girls. Thankfully times have changed. The aboriginal boy’s school is now used as the Education Centre and there was a school from Geraldton here today.

There are information placards in the courtyard with the town’s history on one side in six sections and on the other side are Aboriginal Art Seasons paintings depicting their six seasons.

We toured the Boys Boarding School, St Ildephonsus’ – what an amazing building – the chapel is simply superb – the murals and attention to detail are brilliant. Next stop was St Gertrude’s Girls School – a totally different feel – much more feminine in design, but just as spectacular – if possible I think the chapel is even more gorgeous.  This has a domed roof (complete with murals) over a very ornate altar, and acoustics to die for.  The music room reminds me of school days at St Ursula’s and the dining room is complemented by the most spectacular jarrah tables with the school emblem on the ends.  The entry doors have stained glass which is unusual because none of the monks were stained glass artisans.

The tour ended here and I toured the Art Gallery and Museum before heading to the camp at the oval, introduce myself to some WA campers then head to drinks with Lorraine and Terry.  This has been a very tiring and wonderfully informative day.

New Norcia (Day 2)

Armed with the information from yesterday’s tour, I set out to explore and photograph New Norcia at my own pace.  The buildings are spectacular and I browse through the ones we touched on yesterday.  After I’d had my fill, I decided to do the River walk to explore the bush part of the place.  It winds through the Olive Farm, across the Moore River and into a sheep paddock where there is the Apiary building and the Bishop’s well.  The monk’s build very wide wells and lined them with stone. Bishop Salvado was a man with vision for this community. I climb over the stile and continue back to the river and the Ford and Weir – there was once a floodbridge which connected the Monastery and orchards and gardens on the eastern side of the river, but a newer structure is my ford today.  The walk is about two kilometres long, but gives an insight into the farming side of the Benedictines in making the settlement self-sufficient.

After the walk, I head back to the bus for a rest and then back to the Hotel for lunch and a try of Abbey Ale – the beer brewed for New Norcia.  It’s not a bad drop and the glass it’s served in is like a mini brandy balloon – I have to get myself one of those!!  This afternoon was spent on the diary and photos and blog.  Tonight Maureen (my neighbour) and I are going to Vespers at the Monastery. We went to the Monastery Chapel at 6:20 only to find they’d changed it to 6 p.m. at the Abbey Church – better late than never.  This is a 1500 year old tradition and I don’t want to miss it. The monk’s voices are quite hauntingly beautiful and most of the service is sung in Latin.

Toodyay Church

Toodyay Church

Toodyay Streetscape

Toodyay Streetscape

Aboriginal Seasons

Aboriginal Seasons

St Ildephonsus Boy's School

St Ildephonsus Boy’s School

St Ildephonsus Chapel

St Ildephonsus Chapel

St Gertrudes Girl's School

St Gertrudes Girl’s School

St Gertrude's Chapel

St Gertrude’s Chapel

Aboriginal Boy's School (now Education Centre)

Aboriginal Boy’s School (now Education Centre)

The Old Convent

The Old Convent

Abbey Church

Abbey Church

Abbey Church Interior

Abbey Church Interior

Abbey Church Stations of the Cross - Aussie Style

Abbey Church Stations of the Cross – Aussie Style

Benedictine Monastery

Benedictine Monastery

Mission Cottages Information

Mission Cottages Information

Mission Cottage

Mission Cottage

New Norcia Hotel

New Norcia Hotel

Bishop Salvado's Tomb Inscriptions

Bishop Salvado’s Tomb Inscriptions

The Apiary Plaque

The Apiary Plaque

The Apiary

The Apiary

Old Well

Old Well

Hand Ball Courts

Hand Ball Courts

Byford – Armadale –Mundaring – York

Banksia on highway

Banksia on highway

I waited until peak hour would be over this morning before tackling the highway through Perth’s outer suburbs. Traffic was still quite heavy and I was pleased to hit the turnoff to York.  At the intersection of the main highways I saw the most magnificent banksias lining the highway.  On my way to York I heard on the radio that there had been a major smash at that intersection – I’d only missed it by ½ hour – Thank God!!

I’m back driving through the magical Salmon Gums and they are magnificent.  The road is much less busy and I can enjoy the drive for the first time in a couple of days.  I arrived in York and grabbed a map and started seeing the sights – beautiful old buildings (it is the oldest inland town in WA – first settled in 1831 – only two years after the Swan River colony). Convicts played a large part in the development of the York district, being introduced in 1851. The Convict Hiring Depot closed in 1874.

My favourite is the Town Hall – very opulent and the light on the walls was magic.  It was built in 1911, in Edwardian style, complete with columns, ornate façade and fanlight over the front entrance. There is The Sock Factory – the last remaining maker of socks in WA. They have a huge array of products as well as socks and it’s great to browse.  Penny Farthing Sweets is a treat but I was strong and didn’t get tempted (I’ve still got fudge!!)  St Patrick’s Catholic Church was beautiful and the stained glass was wonderful. The suspension (swinging) bridge has been rebuilt because of safety concerns, but the original was built by convicts in 1853.  It heads across the Avon River to the Anglican Church on the other side. There is a river walk which took me down the town side of the river to point out some historic points of interest then I walked over the Suspension Bridge to the Church. I’m camped for the night along the river bank at York.

Salmon Gums

Salmon Gums

York Welcome Sign

York Welcome Sign

York Westpac Bank

York Westpac Bank

Old Fire Station

Old Fire Station

York Town Hall

York Town Hall

York Streetscape

York Streetscape

Tatty Parrot Bakery

Tatty Parrot Bakery

York Anglican Church

York Anglican Church

1908 Building

1908 Building

York Penny Farthing Sweets

York Penny Farthing Sweets

York Catholic Church Stained Glass

York Catholic Church Stained Glass

York Catholic Church

York Catholic Church

Avon River

Avon River

Swinging Bridge

Swinging Bridge

Pinjarra – Mandurah – Fremantle – Armadale – Frank Lupino Memorial Park, Byford

After filling the water tanks and getting some groceries this morning, I headed to Mandurah on the way to Fremantle.  The drive into Fremantle via the industrial area reminded me that this is a port city – massive establishments line the shores and the roadways. Large ships are moored out in the bay and the whole area is a hive of activity – I’m not enjoying all the trucks!!  I head towards the dock area of Fremantle as I’ve been told it’s easier to park – I found a park in a lane and decided that it was a good spot to begin my exploration of Fremantle.

The University of Notre Dame has some amazing buildings, as does the Customs Department – rounded frontages on two streets – great symmetry. The history in the buildings is apparent and I love the architecture – the stone facades are superb, and I wandered the streets, camera at the ready for several hours before finding my way back to the marina for lunch (fish and chips of course!!)

There is a Round House at Arthur Head, the landing place of the first settlers of the Swan River Colony. This is built on a craggy limestone cliff and has flags flying to welcome ships from other ports to the Port of Fremantle. There is also the Fremantle Time Ball and Time Gun which was erected near the Round House in 1900, it belongs to the Fremantle Football Club but is now on loan to the Volunteer Heritage Guides who man this Round House. Under the Round House and in the Cliff, is a Whaler’s Tunnel with wrought iron gates at either end which leads to the Bather’s Beach.

I had lunch on the pier and the atmosphere was great – fish and chips with the seagulls!! There’s a statue of Bon Scott on the boardwalk, and lots of people having their lunch and heading back to work.

After exploring the streets, fascinated by the great architecture,  I head out of Fremantle towards Armadale and Byford where I’m going to camp for the night. I don’t want to be in the traffic again so I left early. Byford has a great entry welcome – sculptures depicting the district’s activity – gorgeous.

Ornate 1829 Building

Ornate 1829 Building

Gorgeous Corner Architecture

Gorgeous Corner Architecture

Hotel Cleopatra

Hotel Cleopatra

Flags Flying Information

Flags Flying Information

Flags Flying

Flags Flying

The Fremantle Time Ball and Time Gun Information

The Fremantle Time Ball and Time Gun Information

Time Gun Canon

Time Gun Canon

Ship in Port

Ship in Port

Whaler's Tunnel

Whaler’s Tunnel

Whaler's Tunnel Information

Whaler’s Tunnel Information

The Round House

The Round House

Fremantle Yachts

Fremantle Yachts

Fremantle Harbour

Fremantle Harbour

Flags Flying at Round House

Flags Flying at Round House

Bon Scott Statue

Bon Scott Statue

Byford Sign

Byford Sign

Byford Entry Dairy Sculpture

Byford Entry Dairy Sculpture

Byford Entry Harness Racing Sculpture

Byford Entry Harness Racing Sculpture

Byford Entry Farming Sculpture

Byford Entry Farming Sculpture

Pinjarra Mural

Pinjarra Mural

After a little housework this morning, I set of to walk the Pathways to Pinjarra’s Past.  The visitor information centre had given me the booklet and guide.  This was a very interesting walk as each point of interest is documented in the booklet.  The history of each place is explained as well. There are two houses belonging to a pioneering family with strong links to Pinjarra, the McLarty family. Edward McLarty built Liveringa in approximately 1860 for his new bride and then Edenvale in 1888.  Edenvale is a 17 room residence and is used for the Visitor Information Centre and Heritage Tea Rooms after being saved from demolition by protesting Pinjarra residents. It would have been a tragedy if this magnificent building had been lost.  The grounds which are complete with original windmill, an old well and butchery are impressive.

Across the road are the Old Schoolhouse c 1896 and the Schoolmasters’ House c 1896 and the Heritage Rose Garden which was established in 1982 and has over 380 bushes.  There is a memorial rose garden incorporated.

The walk takes me down along the Murray River and back into town, passing the St John’s Anglican Church and Churchyard. This is the earliest known cemetery in the Pinjarra district and the McLarty name features heavily here too.

There’s a great sculpture of a lounge overlooking the river and the path heads towards the suspension bridge before arriving at the town clock and Post Office. The main street has many historic buildings and it’s good to be able to read the history of these.

Finishing the walk, I do a spot of grocery shopping before heading back to the bus and lunch.  I have computer work to do this afternoon and, as it’s quite nippy outside, I close everything up and enjoy the warmth.

After a little housework this morning, I set of to walk the Pathways to Pinjarra’s Past.  The visitor information centre had given me the booklet and guide.  This was a very interesting walk as each point of interest is documented in the booklet.  The history of each place is explained as well. There are two houses belonging to a pioneering family with strong links to Pinjarra, the McLarty family. Edward McLarty built Liveringa in approximately 1860 for his new bride and then Edenvale in 1888.  Edenvale is a 17 room residence and is used for the Visitor Information Centre and Heritage Tea Rooms after being saved from demolition by protesting Pinjarra residents. It would have been a tragedy if this magnificent building had been lost.  The grounds which are complete with original windmill, an old well and butchery are impressive.

Across the road are the Old Schoolhouse c 1896 and the Schoolmasters’ House c 1896 and the Heritage Rose Garden which was established in 1982 and has over 380 bushes.  There is a memorial rose garden incorporated.

The walk takes me down along the Murray River and back into town, passing the St John’s Anglican Church and Churchyard. This is the earliest known cemetery in the Pinjarra district and the McLarty name features heavily here too.

There’s a great sculpture of a lounge overlooking the river and the path heads towards the suspension bridge before arriving at the town clock and Post Office. The main street has many historic buildings and it’s good to be able to read the history of these.

Finishing the walk, I do a spot of grocery shopping before heading back to the bus and lunch.  I have computer work to do this afternoon and, as it’s quite nippy outside, I close everything up and enjoy the warmth.

Edenvale

Edenvale

Butcher House

Butcher House

Liveringa Well

Liveringa Well

Liveringa

Liveringa

Heritage Trail Plaque - Liveringa

Heritage Trail Plaque – Liveringa

Heritage Rose Garden

Heritage Rose Garden

Red Gum Plaque

Red Gum Plaque

Western Australia Reg Gum

Western Australia Reg Gum

Museum

Museum

Murray River

Murray River

Chair Sculpture on Creek Bank

Chair Sculpture on Creek Bank

Murray River Jetty

Murray River Jetty

Pinjarra Church

Pinjarra Church

Churchyard Cemetery

Churchyard Cemetery

Town Clock

Town Clock

Post Office

Post Office

Trinity Church Plaque

Trinity Church Plaque

Trinity Church

Trinity Church

Byford Rest Area – Perth – Fremantle – Rockingham – Mandurah – Pinjarra

Perth City

Perth City

On the highway today heading into Perth, I had to travel through quite a few suburbs as the GPS found another May Drive in Perth and took me North of the city instead of to Kings Park as was the plan.  Kings Park is very spectacular and the views are a feast for my eyes.  The view over the Swan and Canning Rivers meeting and the City from the War Memorial are stunning. It would be easy to while away quite a few hours drinking in this scene. The War Memorial and Eternal Flame are strategically placed – possibly the best real estate in the city!! The Eternal Flame challenges you to “Let Silent Contemplation Be Your Offering” – very thought provoking and beautifully said.

The WA Botanical Gardens are magnificent and the crowds of people enjoying them are testament to a well-designed public space.  I so enjoyed exploring the different sections and can imagine, if I lived in Perth it would be one of my favourite places to go.  The DNA Tower had 100 steps and a magical view from the top – 360 degrees around the gardens and the city. The gardens are in sections and each had explanations in the pamphlet I’d picked up at the Visitor Centre.  There is a 750 year old Boab tree, which was re-located from the north of the state – an enormous undertaking. It was driven 3200 kilometres from Telegraph Creek to Perth to take pride of place in the gardens. There are quite a few tributes to women in the park, a Pioneer Memorial Wall which was fabulous, and tiles on the footpath celebrating women’s contribution to life in Perth. I spent many hours exploring before I had to head south to Fremantle.

The freeway was so busy, I couldn’t get off at Fremantle so I headed for Rockingham and did the 20 kilometre Coastal Discovery Tourist Drive – the conveyor belt which goes out into the bay from the silos is extremely long and covered. The housing along the beach drive is impressive – beautiful homes with great patios out the front to take in the views of the ocean.  The Rockingham Beach Precinct is well laid out – a lit path and plenty of barbecue shelters – obviously a family oriented community. The streetscape on the beach reminds me of Southbank in Brisbane. I drive around Rockingham to explore before heading to Mandurah.

I found Silver Sands Beach at Mandurah but the road into the Visitor Centre is under repair so was unable to explore as much as I wished.  The traffic is very heavy so I decide to head to Bunnings for gas and then to Pinjarra for the night before the headache was full blown.  I got to a truck rest area and pulled in but was advised by a local to head into the park at Pinjarra.  I arrived in the park and met Charley and Wendy from Bundaberg and Gaye from Bourke.  We had happy hour then Gaye and I went across the road to the Hotel for dinner.

Paula at Kings Park Perth

Paula at Kings Park Perth

Boab Tree

Boab Tree

Boab Movement Information

Boab Movement Information

W.A. War Memorial

W.A. War Memorial

Eternal Flame

Eternal Flame

Stunning Scarlet Featherflower

Stunning Scarlet Featherflower

Botanical Gardens Seating

Botanical Gardens Seating

Pioneering Women's Memorial Wall

Pioneering Women’s Memorial Wall

DNA Tower at Botanical Gardens

DNA Tower at Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Botanical Gardens

Peppermint tree information

Peppermint tree information

Firefighter's Memorial in Kings Park

Firefighter’s Memorial in Kings Park

Parliment Building

Parliment Building

Swan Panorama

Swan Panorama

Rockingham Conveyor

Rockingham Conveyor

Rockingham Beach Path

Rockingham Beach Path

Mandurah Street

Mandurah Street

Boranup Campground – Witchcliffe – Margaret River – Cowaramup – Busselton – Capel – Donnybrook – Collie – Stockton Lake Recreational Reserve

Boranup Drive

Boranup Drive

On my way to Margaret River this morning, I passed Witchcliffe which has a great name for a shop The Flying Wardrobe – I was taken by the name.  Margaret River was a hive of activity as I’d expected – as I’m not into wines (there are 120 – plus wineries in the area), I had to check out the Fudge Shop – so much to choose from!! It is, as expected a real tourist town and after browsing for a while I decide to head further North to Cowaramup. This is so much more my style, a quaint little village on the highway with statues of cows everywhere – so great to walk up and down the street and check them out.  This has a really lovely feel to it – I loved the gorgeous little Anglican Church tucked in behind the trees in the park as well.

On to Busselton and the famous Jetty – 1.8 kilometres long with an underwater observatory at the end. $2.50 to walk on the Jetty and everything else is extra. There’s even a photo tower in the Visitor Centre – they charge $2 to go up the steps and take a photo.  I head back to the bus and have lunch and then head back down Queen Street to the Causeway Road to Capel and Donnybrook.

Donnybrook has great scenery – cows grazing in green pastures then the fruit orchards – I pulled into one to buy some apples and plums but the big box for $4 each would have been wasted, so I bought a pumpkin for $1 instead. The apples are falling off the trees in the orchard but the ones on the trees look great. I’m off the highway now so I can take a look around the place a bit easier and I’m heading for Collie and Stockton Lake Recreational Reserve for the night.

The next morning, I had a really nice morning around the campfire talking to Bruno and Ann from Australind and Carol from Perth.  Bruno and Ann headed off for home and invited me to camp in their driveway tomorrow night then Carol and I went for a walk to the Stockton Mine entrance before the rain set in.  I did computer work for the rest of the day after washing the hair.

Sheep in the Vineyards

Sheep in the Vineyards

Cowaramup Cow and Calf

Cowaramup Cow and Calf

Cowaramup Fancy Cow

Cowaramup Fancy Cow

Cowaramup Church

Cowaramup Church

Busselton Visitor Information Centre

Busselton Visitor Information Centre

Busselton Swimming Baths

Busselton Swimming Baths

Busselton Streetscape

Busselton Streetscape

Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty

Busselton Jetty

Donnybrook Country

Donnybrook Country

Donnybrook Apple Trees

Donnybrook Apple Trees

Lake Stockton

Lake Stockton

Lake Stockton

Lake Stockton

Stockton Lake Sunset

Stockton Lake Sunset

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERA

Storm brewing at Lake Stockton

Storm brewing at Lake Stockton

Big Brook Arboretum – Donnelly River – Augusta – Cape Leeuwin – Jewel Cave – Boranup Campground

Paula at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Paula at Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

I left the Arboretum this morning and made my way to Augusta via the Karri Forest Explorer drive to the Vasse Highway. This took me through some magnificent Karri country – massive straight trees with no bark (they shed in summer). The road is gravel but well maintained, but I’m pleased to reach the highway and bitumen.  The highway takes me into Donnelly River country (a relative – I’m sure!!)  This is beautiful rich country and the start of vineyards and fruit growing as well as the actual Donnelly River.  There are chalets and cabins to stay in as well as farm stays advertised.

Just past the Donnelly River, I am fascinated by the change in the forest – the trees have obviously been burnt some time ago and there are masses of Black Boy trees – groves of them amongst the tall timbers. I’m out of the Karri country now and heading for the turnoff to Augusta.  I stopped for morning tea at a parking area just past the turnoff and stretched my legs – a really pleasant stop with a nice outlook.

On arrival at Augusta I head to the Visitor Information Centre to get my tickets for the Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse tour and the Caves tour.  This is a very well serviced coastal town – it has a nice feel to it. The harbour is just down the hill so easy to explore.  There are boat cruises, but I’ve decided on the Lighthouse and Jewel Cave.

I set off to Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse via a scenic coastal road – checking out the new boat harbour being built and the fishermen on the rocks before arriving at the Lighthouse.  Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse is Australia’s Tallest Lighthouse (built in 1895 from local stone).  The light stands 56 metres above mean tide level and the original lens is still used today.  78 steps to reach to top and the most magnificent view – 360 degrees and two oceans meeting – the Southern Ocean meets the Indian Ocean. Whales are in Flinders Bay from May until September – some were spotted near the horizon while we were in the Lighthouse. This is on the extreme South West point in Australia and the Leeuwin Current flows by here – the water temperature is 24 degrees – amazing I thought it would be freezing. The Lighthouse precinct is heritage listed and the tour allows access to the grounds.  There is a memorial to 10 sailors lost from HMAS Nizram close to Cape Leeuwin, a sundial pointing to places of interest and information boards on the Lighthouse’s history. The Keepers cottages have pointed rooves to cope with the strong winds. I really enjoyed the tour as it was very informative. There is an historic Water Wheel which supplied the water for the builders from a spring in the wetland between the lighthouse and Quarry Bay where the limestone was cut for the building of the lighthouse. It travelled along the wooden flume and as the water flowed over, the wheel activated the pump which pumped the water to the lighthouse. Even though the wheel is encrusted with limestone, I find it fascinating – what amazing technology – over 120 years ago!!

After the Lighthouse, I head back into Augusta to investigate the Nurses Memorial I’d noticed the sign for on the way out – the memorial is for all Australian Army Nursing Sisters who paid the ultimate sacrifice – their names are listed on one plaque and beside it is another with their names listed under the columns of how they perished.  This was a fitting tribute to these often forgotten women, and I felt extremely moved. I then took myself on a self-drive tour of Augusta before heading to Jewel Cave for the afternoon tour.

Jewel Cave is magnificent – the largest of Western Australian Show Caves.  There are over 500 steps to the bottom of the cave 42 metres down, through the most amazing Karst landscape imaginable – all types of stalagmite, flow stone, shawls and cave coral.  Some of the longest straw stalactites are in Jewel Cave. The Bridal Veil is incredibly beautiful but to pick a favourite would be impossible – the entire experience and the tour guides’ stories and insight made it a great experience – albeit a challenge getting back up the 500 steps. We were shown a fossil on the floor of the cave and the natural entry (A hole in the ceiling of the cave where a caver lowered himself in and discovered this wonderland)

After Jewel Cave, I went for a drive to Hamelin Bay and on to the Campground at Boranup Forest for the night.

Donnelly River Karri

Donnelly River Karri

Donnelly River

Donnelly River

Donnelly River Vineyards

Donnelly River Vineyards

Augusta Inlet

Augusta Inlet

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse

Flinders Bay

Flinders Bay

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse View

Cape Leeuwin Lighthouse View

Lighthouse Steps

Lighthouse Steps

Lighthouse Keeper's Cottage

Lighthouse Keeper’s Cottage

Two Oceans Meet Information

Two Oceans Meet Information

Water Wheel

Water Wheel

Water Wheel Wooden Flume

Water Wheel Wooden Flume

Historic Water Wheel Information

Historic Water Wheel Information

Jewel Cave Bridal Veil

Jewel Cave Bridal Veil

Jewel Cave Light Show

Jewel Cave Light Show

Jewel Cave Coral

Jewel Cave Coral

Jewel Cave Organ Pipes

Jewel Cave Organ Pipes

Hamelin Bay Sign

Hamelin Bay Sign

Hamelin Bay

Hamelin Bay

Boranup Forest Map

Boranup Forest Map